Dear Savvy Auntie,

My sister is with a guy whom I don't like. He isn't the father of my niece and nephew.  He has an 9 year old soon whom my sister and he only have on the weekends (just started this recently.)

I asked her today if I could take my niece and nephew to the splash park later and she said what about her boyfriend's son. I have no relationship with this boy and feel as if he should be spending time with his father not me. I can barely handle my niece and nephew both at once. She called me selfish and rude because I said he's not my responsibility. Should i be entitled to bring him along every time I spend time with my niece and nephew?

Not My Responsibility

Dear Not My Responsibility,

It's never selfish or rude to be generous and take your niece and nephew to the splash park. Her boyfriend's son isn't your responsibility - and neither are your nieces and nephews. But you do have a special bond with them that makes you want to be generous with them.

Be honest with your sister about why you made the decision you did. And not being able to handle three kids at a big park is an honest one. Then ask her to be honest with you - not with name calling - but the real reason why this hurts her (anger is often an expression of hurt.) It could be that she wants the day off too, and if you take all three children, she can have time with her boyfriend. It could be that it hurts the boy's feelings to be left out and that hurts her, too. It could be that her boyfriend wants to know he is accepted in the family.

Whatever the reason, get to the root of it and try to negotiate a solution. This boy may eventually become a step-nephew to you and perhaps now is as good a time as ever to get to know him better. Either way, honesty always helps resolve a challenge like this. And you are without a doubt a generous aunt who, like anyone, has boundaries and that's fair. You just may want to know better if it's worth pushing those boundaries out just a bit further.

Melanie Notkin
Founder, Savvy Auntie

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